Massachusetts officials have confirmed that Boston Marathon bombing suspect Tamerlan Tsarnaev and his family received taxpayer-funded Massachusetts welfare, even as Tsarnaev began delving deeper into the world of radical Islam.
According to state officials’ remarks to the Boston Herald, Tamerlan Tsarnaev and his family -- wife Katherine Russell Tamerlan and their 3-year-old daughter -- received benefits from the Massachusetts Department of Transitional Assistance for several years up until 2012. Officials also added that Tsarnaev’s parents received benefits while he and his brother Dzhokhar were children. Dzhokar Tsarnaev is also a suspect in the Boston Marathon bombings and has been charged with federal crimes of terrorism.
Tamerlan, who was killed in a shootout with Boston police early Friday morning, reportedly delved into the world of radical Islam in 2008 and 2009, when he and his family were still on government benefits. The Boston Herald reports that a man known only as “Misha” began introducing Tsarnaev to the world of radical Islam with propaganda books like “The Protocols of the Elders of Zion” around 2009.
While Tamerlan Tsarnaev and his brother were reportedly receiving Massachusetts welfare as they dived into the world of radical Islam, Tamerlan’s family stopped receiving benefits sometime in 2012 when the family no longer met eligibility requirements. State officials claim that Tamerlan’s wife Katherine began working as much as 80 hours a week while Tamerlan stayed home during this period.
“The brothers were not receiving transitional assistance benefits at the time of the incident and have not received any transitional assistance benefits this year," Massachusetts Health and Human Services communication director Alec Loftus told the Boston Herald in a statement. "The Tsarnaevs’ parents are former recipients of transitional assistance benefits, and both Dzhokhar and Tamerlan Tsarnaev received benefits through their parents when they were younger. Separately, Tamerlan and his family received benefits until 2012, when the family became ineligible based on their income.”
This report means that Tsarnaev was still receiving government assistance even after he was placed on an FBI terrorist watch list in 2011.
Loftus did not clarify exactly what benefits Tsarnaev and his family received from the Massachusetts government, but the Massachusetts Department of Transitional Assistance states that its mission is "to assist low-income individuals and families to meet their basic needs, increase their incomes and improve their quality of life.” The department offers food and job assistance, emergency shelter, assistance for the disables and elderly, and monetary aid for low-income families with children.
Eric Brown is an IBTimes political reporter who eats far too much pizza. He is a graduate of Mercer University in Macon, Georgia, and currently resides in Brooklyn.